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#1
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18th September, 1889 — Florence’s Bartonburg House
A little bit of tampering with the Floo Network, and Jay had clambered out of the fireplace at Florence’s new residence. (Not hers, really, he considered, thinking uncomfortably of all the men who fell sway to her charms, who apparently would do almost anything to possess her.)

“Florence?” He murmured, picking off a speck of ash that had settled on him. She wasn’t expecting him, necessarily, though Simeon had sent him to check up on her - discreetly, of course. It wouldn’t do to go waltzing in the front door. Nor arrive when someone else was here.

But it was mid-morning, a while after his shift had ended at the shop; and even if she had been entertaining last night, hopefully she would be alone now. Not that it hurt to be quiet, just in case.

Jay looked around the room. It was his first time here, so there was plenty to look at. The furniture, the wallpapers, the view from the window onto Bartonburg, which was quainter than anywhere he’d known in London. Her things, and all the things that had been bought for her. (That had bought her.)

The front room was deserted, and most of the downstairs. Listening intently, Jay began - cautiously - to climb the stairs.


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#2
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Florence was greatly enjoying being a homeowner and was still putting her finishing touches in place. A vase here, a chaise there and it was all coming together rather beautifully. The maid and cook that had been hired were off doing their respective tasks.

Not having anywhere pressing to be nor anyone she was entertaining, Florence was catching up on some reading. She was very much lost in one of the literary worlds of Edgar Allan Poe, her fingers gripping the paper. So lost was she that she did not initially hear Jay calling her name. Then she heard the sound of someone coming up her steps.

Immediately grabbing the fire poker near her bedrooms hearth, she quietly slipped out of her room and screamed and rose her arms to strike with the poker. Luckily for Jay's head, she realized who he was and lowered her impromptu weapon. "For Merlin's sake, Jay. You lot can't just come traipsing in here like that," Flo admonished with a hand on her hip, heart still going a mile a minute.
#3
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Jay started slightly at the war-cry that came, and the abrupt appearance of the poker, being brandished by Florence herself. He had taken half a step backwards (and fortunately not fallen halfway down the stairs) before she lowered the weapon and started lecturing.

“Sorry,” Jay said mildly, too glad to see her to have much room for the shock of nearly getting his eye poked out or his head bashed in, and hardly able to hold back even the smallest smile. “I thought I’d better not ring the doorbell.” He scratched briefly at the side of his neck, not wanting to draw undue attention to the other visitors Florence must get here, or draw people back too obviously to Fox & Son, and their larger business at hand.

“Sorry I didn’t warn you,” he added in apology, looking around the upstairs landing as he let her catch her breath. “You’re not busy, are you?” Not too busy to wield a poker, at least.


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#4
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"Smart," Florence said when Jay told her that he thought it better not to ring the doorbell. It wasn't like her suitors would be thrilled about a man being in her home even if it was one she saw more as a brother than anything else. And she wouldn't have been so freaked out had she heard his arrival and not been so wrapped up in her book.

"No, I was just reading this novel. Have you heard of Edgar Allen Poe?" The terror brought forth by simple written word was exhilarating.
#5
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Reading a novel, hm? This new position in Hogsmeade had really given her plenty of leisure time.

Not that he would even pretend to be jealous. What she did was something... not at all in his wheelhouse.

“Not really,” Jay admitted, glancing at her book and supposing he had heard of Poe, though he had lost most of his taste for fiction since his Hogwarts days when he’d picked up an adventure book or two between the textbooks. “The only books I see are Fox & Son’s accounts,” he said with a suppressed snort. (Though, what with the things he quietly wrote his parents in letters, he could almost say he’d forged a career in writing fiction himself.)

“But it's not making you jumpy at all, is it, this novel?” Jay said wryly, in his own kind of brotherly joke, not quite over the near-attack of the poker.


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#6
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Florence snorted as Jay mentioned that the only books that he saw were the account books. How boring! She was sure glad that she had never been saddled with such a task. She would likely fall asleep on the job more often than not.

"Oh, shush. Are you hungry?" She asked as she set the poker aside and moved to go downstairs, expecting that Jay would follow.

#7
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Jay smiled quietly at her hushing him, and only gave her a slight nudge at her shoulder in response. As for her question - “I could be,” he said with a half-grin, following her gracelessly down the stairs. It was close to his ‘dinnertime’, if not everyone’s breakfast or lunch, but nevermind that. He was a man, and could always be hungry, had been that way since boyhood - but he, and he suspected most of Fox’s brood of adopted children, had also experienced what it really was to be hungry, that constant ache inside like one’s body had started gnawing at itself in place of having anything else to consume... so he had never dealt with the idea of hunger quite as lightly since.

Mostly he was interested to see the rest of her new Bartonburg place, but following her downstairs again was the right direction for that too, and some food on the side certainly wouldn’t hurt.


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